Aruba’s Patrick Groters Breaks Second National Record; El Salvador’s Celina Marquez Of Azura Breaks National Record; Carter Takes Bronze Day Three Of XVIII Pan American Games

By Sharon Robb

LIMA, Peru, August 9, 2019—Patrick Groters of Aruba continued to make history for his country with a second national record Thursday at the XVIII Pan American Games at Villa Deportiva Nacional Aquatic Center.

The former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swimming alum just missed his second final, placing ninth in the men’s 100-meter backstroke and making “B” final but did break his second national record for Aruba in a personal-best 56.20. He broke his own record of 57.17 set in 2017 at the CARIFTA Championships.

In an exciting “B” final race, Groters was second in another best time and lowering his national record in 55.82 just 4/100ths of a second behind Azura’s Yeziel Morales of Puerto Rico in 55.78. Groters is being coached by his older brother Jordy.

Morales finished fourth in his heat in 56.53. He finished fifth overall in 200-meter backstroke on Wednesday in 2:00.27.

Azura Florida Aquatics’ Celina Marquez, 20, of El Salvador swam a national record in the 100-meter backstroke in a lifetime-best 1:01.92. Her previous best was 1:02.92 in April at the Puerto Rico Open. She also swam 1:02.96 at the recent FINA World Aquatic Championships. She earned the fifth-fastest time. Her splits were 29.96 and 31.96, breaking the national record by more than two and a half seconds. In finals, she finished seventh in 1:03.07.

American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago 100-meter won a bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke final in 54.42.

Groters’ Aruba teammate Mikel Schreuders, 20, swam the fastest time in his career to break a national record in the 100-meter freestyle in 49.08. His splits were 23.74 and 25.34 to earn the third seed for final. His previous best was 49.17 swam at the 2018 Central American & Caribbean Games. He came back at night to finish sixth in 49.21.

Azura’s Allyson Ponson of Aruba won the “B” final in the 100-meter freestyle in 57.06. In prelims she was ninth in 57.28 to make “B” final.

Former SOFLO swimmer Jorge Murillo won the “B” final in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:13.59 after going 2:14.09 in his heat. He was also a member of the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay that finished fifth in 3:55.22.

Renzo Tjon-A-Joe of Surinam was fourth in the 100-meter freestyle heats in 49.73.

Azura and Cypress Bay alum Marco Guarente, now at Florida, qualified for the “A” final of 200-meter breaststroke, where he finished seventh in 2:14.40.

Azura alum Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, now at Louisville, was fifth in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:00.98.

Mateo Gonzalez of Mexico, a Sagemont and Azura alum qualified for the “B” final on Wednesday in 100-meter butterfly and finished second in 54.09.

Azura alum Luis Martinez won a silver medal in 100-meter butterfly in 51.63 behind American Tom Shields in 51.59 Wednesday night.

Azura alum Jose Angel Martinez of Mexico, now at Texas A&M, was fifth in 200-meter butterfly in 1:59.23 Wednesday night.

Azura’s Julio Horrego of Honduras was fourth in the “B” final of 200-meter breaststroke in 2:17.90 after going 2:18.21 in his heat.

Doral alum Isabella Paez was a member of Venezuela’s mixed 4×100-meter medley relay that finished fourth in its heat in 4:03.18.

American Heritage alum Cathy Cooper of Panama was a member of the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay that finished fifth in its heat in 4:06.11 and sixth in finals in 3:58.10.

Individual winners on Thursday night:

American Margo Greer, top qualifier, led from start-to-finish to win the 100-meter freestyle in 54.17.

Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini outsprinted American Nathan Adrian to win the 100-meter freestyle in 48.09 and snap the Americans win streak. Adrian finished in 48.17.

American Anne Lazor won the 200-meter breaststroke in a Pan Am record 2:21.40.

American William Licon won the 200-meter breaststroke in a Pan Am record of 2:07.62.

American Phoebe Bacon won the 100-meter backstroke in 59.47, the only swimmer under 1 minute.

American Daniel Carr won the 100-meter backstroke in 53.50.

Argentina’s Delfina Pignatiello continues to dominate the distance events winning the 800-meter freestyle in 8:29.42. American Mariah Denigan was second in 8:34.18. U.S. teammate Becca Mann, a former Clearwater swimmer, was fifth in 8:38.25.

American Andrew Abruzzo won the 800-meter freestyle in 7:54.70.

Brazil won the 4×100-meter medley relay in 3:48.61. The U.S. team of Anne Lazor, Kendyl Stewart, Cody Miller and Nathan Adrian was disqualified for an illegal second dolphin kick on Miller’s breaststroke.

The U.S. won 11 medals including six gold on Day 3 and broke two Pan American records.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Rodriguez Swims Final Event, Lesage Wraps Up On Friday At USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Championships

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 8, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers Rafael Rodriguez and Lance Lesage are winding up their first USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Championships at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center.

In his third and final event on Thursday, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Rafael Rodriguez, 17, swam the 100-meter butterfly in 57.47.

SOFLO teammate Lance Lesage wraps up his swimming on Friday with the 100-meter backstroke where he is seeded 62nd in 58.60.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Anna Auld, 16, of East Coast Aquatic Club was 28th in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:23.11.

Individual winners were:

Jillian Cox, 14, the 800-meter freestyle runner-up from Austin Trinity Aquatic Club, came back to win the 400-meter freestyle in a best time 4:13.24 just ahead of incoming Texas freshman Miranda Heckman, 18, of Pleasanton Seahawks in 4:13.27.

Jack Walker of SwimMac edged James Plage of Aquabears, 3:53.02-3:53.07, to win the 400-meter freestyle.

The top six women in the 100-meter butterfly matched or went under the Olympic Trials cut of 1:00.69. Lucy Bell of Fort Collins Area won in 59.05, a lifetime best by nearly one second. She was the only swimmer under one minute.

Peak Swimming’s Ethan Hu won the 100-meter butterfly in 53.71, an Olympic Trials Cut. All three top finishers made the trials qualifying standard of 54.19.

SwimMac won the 4×200-meter freestyle relay in 7:27.66.

USA Swimming is live streaming all sessions of junior nationals, unlike the senior national meet, which had sessions split between USA Swimming and NBC Sports. All 10 sessions of the meet will come through live on Prelims are 9 a.m. local time and finals at 5 PM. The meet continues through Saturday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Misses Out On Medal, Xiang Breaks World Record On Day One Of FINA Swimming World Cup Series

By Sharon Robb

JINAN, China, August 8, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson just missed a medal Thursday on opening day of the FINA Swimming World Cup.

The Jamaican four-time Olympian finished out of the medal hunt in the 200-meter breaststroke with a fourth place in 2:31.00. She was coming off a gold medal in the 50-meter breaststroke in Tokyo.

In prelims, Atkinson was second fastest in prelims of the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:34.07 but faded to fourth in finals. Russian Vitalina Simonova put up the only sub-2:30 in prelims.

Simonova came back and won in a season-best 2:24.52, fifth fastest time in Russia. Yu Jingyao of China was second in 2:27.51 and He Yun of China was third in 2:28.13.

Atkinson chose not to compete in the Pan American Games which are currently under way in Lima, Peru.

China’s Liu Xiang of Team Speedo broke the world record in the 50-meter backstroke in 27.35.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:07.26.

“After the World Championships, we don’t have time to make adjustments, so I just carried through,” Hosszu said. “The World Cup is more relaxed than the World Championships. I think it is a fun way to just enjoy swimming for what it is and not what you have to do.

“You choose your events and see what you can do. We have more time to spend with other swimmers, we travel together and we have days off to walk around the city, it’s really fun.”

The second leg of the 2019 FINA Swimming World Cup runs from Aug. 8-10.


50-meter freestyle: 1. Cate Campbell (AUS), 24.16; 2. Michelle Coleman (SWE), 24.74; 3. Holly Barratt (AUS), 24.91.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Erica Sullivan (USA), 4:08.70; 2. Wenxin Bi (CHN), 4:10.23; 3. Jie Dong (CHN), 4:11.32.

50-meter backstroke: 1. Xiang Liu (CHN), 27.35; 2. Jie Chen (CHN), 27.88; 3. Emily Seebohm (AUS), 27.99.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Vitalina Simonova (RUS), 2:24.52; 2. Jingyao Yu (CHN), 2:27.51; 3. Yun He (CHN), 2:28.13.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:07.26; 2. Szuszsanna Jakabos (HUN), 2:07.75; 3. Yufei Zhang (CHN), 2:08.89.


50-meter freestyle: 1. Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 21.50; 2. Michael Andrew (USA), 22.16; 3. Hexin Yu (CHN), 22.31. Also: 5. Blake Pieroni (USA), 22.39.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 3:43.91; 2. Xinjie Ji (CHN), 3:49.87; 3. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS), 3:54.20. Also: 5. Brennan Gravely (USA), 3:59.13.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 1:56.39; 2. Tristan Hollard (AUS), 1:57.94; 3. Jiayu Xu (CHN), 1:59.59.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Zibei Yan (CHN), 59.08; 2. tie, Lizhuo Wang (CHN) and Andrew Wilson (USA), 59.56.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Szebasztian Szabo (HUN), 51.45; 2. Grant Irvine (AUS), 51.60; 3. Santo Condorelli (ITA), 52.00, 4. Michael Andrew (USA), 52.08.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Jennifer Martin Ready For International Debut At 18th World Police And Fire Games In China

By Sharon Robb

CHENGDU, China, August 8, 2019—Jennifer Martin of South Florida Aquatic Club will make her international swimming debut in the 18th Chengdu 2019 World Police and Fire Games Friday through Sunday.

The City of Pembroke Pines Police Sergeant will compete in five individual events and four relays over three days at the Tian Fu Sports Area.

On Friday, Martin, 38, will swim the 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly and 200-meter women’s freestyle relay.

The swimming event is divided into two sessions. Martin will swim three events a day.

Her remaining events are the 50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter medley relay, mixed 200-meter free relay and 200-meter medley relay. She will also compete in the 2-mile open water swim on Aug. 15 at the Jintang Triathlon venue.

“As far as China, I am beyond impressed,” Martin wrote on her Facebook page. “Security is very tight everywhere. I had to bring my passport and register with the police when I got here, but at no point have I not felt safe. The Chinese people are so welcoming and doing everything to make me comfortable. Thank you again everyone for all the support. I’m not really sure how I had the courage to do this, but I am so glad that I’m here.”

Martin is at her optimum fitness and competitive level. In June, she tuned up at the U.S. Police & Fire Championships in San Diego where she won nine gold medals in individual and relay events and broke two meet records over 2.5 hours at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. It was the second consecutive year Martin had won nine gold medals at the meet.

Martin started training seriously a year ago for Chengdu.

“I took my fitness to another level,” she said. She shaved three minutes off her 5K time and started eating healthier while baking brownies and peach cobbler for her work mates.

“Many hours of hard work, sacrifice and overcoming obstacles,” she said. “Hoping that all translates to some fast wins and success in Chengdu.”

The World Police & Fire Games are held every two years. The 2021 World Police and Fire Games are July 30-August 8 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

In her last major international competition, the 2017 World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles, Martin won seven gold medals and one silver and broke five world records over four days of open water and pool racing.

Martin is sponsored by the Broward County PBA (Police Benevolent Association)and Toyota of North Miami. Several family members and friends also donated to her Blue To Chengdu Go Fund Me.

The World Police and Fire Games is a worldwide sporting event held every two years with more than 10,000 attendees. The games are an Olympic-style competition of policemen and firefighters from 70 countries across the world who compete in 60 sports.

Participants can be police officers and firefighters from correction, probation, border protection, immigration, and customs from any country in the world.

More than 6,200 volunteers are working the Games. Longtime actor Jackie Chan is the Ambassador for the 18th World Police & Fire Games.

As the capital of the Sichuan Province and a key southwestern city, Chengdu is an important center for high-tech industry, trade, logistics, and transportation. Being an attractive tourist destination, mostly due to its abundant panda populations, Chengdu is listed on the national registry of historical and cultural cities and won the Best Tourist City award by the World Tourism Organization and the China National Tourism Administration. Additionally, it is recognized by UNESCO as a “City of Gastronomy” and it won the title of “World Excellent Tourist Destination City” by the World Centre of Excellence for Destination (an international organization which promotes sustainable tourism practices).

Chengdu is also one of the best places in China, and thus the world, to see the famous Giant Panda. Within the city, visitors can spend an entire day with them at the Panda Breeding and Research Base, and just a two-hour ride outside the city, there is the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base. Visitors can see all ages of Pandas, sometimes including newborns, and can also get up-close and personal with them.

Sharon Robb can be reached at